- Look for the contact information
- How to make your story newsworthy
- How to structure your story
- How to follow up
Wondering how to contact the news for your story? Check out these tips from professional journalists.
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Look for the contact information
Start by looking for the contact information of the news organization you want to pitch. This should be easy to find on the website. If you can’t find it, try a search engine. Look for the masthead, which is a list of the editorial staff. There will likely be an email address or contact form for each editor listed.
Check the website
The best place to start is always the news organization’s website. Many times, there will be a “contact us” page that will have all of the different ways you can get in touch with someone at the organization. There may also be an “about us” page that will list the different departments within the organization and who to contact for each department.
Call the news station
Most news stations have a phone number that you can call to speak to someone in the news department. If you’re not sure which number to call, look up the station’s contact information on their website. You can also try calling the main number for the station and asking to be transferred to the news department.
How to make your story newsworthy
If you have a story that you think is newsworthy, the first thing you need to do is contact the news. But how do you make your story newsworthy? There are a few things you can do to increase the chances that your story will be picked up by the news.
Make it time-sensitive
Your story might be perfect for the news, but if it’s not time-sensitive, you may have a harder time getting their attention. News is all about what’s happening now, so if your story can tie into a current event or trend, that’s a plus. For example, let’s say you run a pet store and you want to do a segment on pet adoptions. If there’s currently a push for adoption in your area (say, during kitten season), that would make your story more timely and therefore more newsworthy.
Offer new perspectives
Local newspapers, radio stations and TV channels are always looking for new and interesting stories to report on. If you have a story that you think would be newsworthy, there are a few things you can do to make it more appealing to the media.
One way to make your story more newsworthy is to offer new perspectives. If you have a unique angle on a current event or an insider’s view of an issue, this can make your story more appealing to reporters.
Another way to make your story more newsworthy is to offer exclusive access to information or interviews. If you have information that the media does not have access to, this can make your story much more attractive to them.
Finally, if you have something visually interesting or exciting that would make for good footage or photos, this can also help your story get attention from the media.
Connect it to a current event
When you’re thinking about how to make your story newsworthy, one of the easiest ways is to connect it to a current event. This will give your story a timeliness that will make it more attractive to editors and producers.
For example, if you’re pitching a story about early childhood education, you might want to tie it to recent news stories about education budget cuts. Or, if you have a medical story, you could connect it to a current health care debate.
Another way to make your story newsworthy is by offering new information or a new perspective on an old story. For example, if there have been recent stories in the news about the rise in popularity of yoga, you could pitch a story about the benefits of yoga for people with chronic pain.
If you’re not sure how to make your story newsworthy, try thinking about what makes a news story interesting to you and see if you can apply that to your own story.
How to structure your story
Whether you are a freelance journalist or a public relations representative, there are several elements that your story should include in order to make it newsworthy. Before you start pitching your story idea to news outlets, make sure that it has all of the following:
Keep it short and sweet
One of the most important things to remember when writing for the news is that editors are incredibly busy people. They need to be able to understand your story quickly and easily, so it’s important to keep your pitch short and sweet.
You should also make sure that you include all of the essential information in your pitch, such as who, what, where, when and why. This will give the editor a good idea of what your story is about and whether it is something that would be suitable for their publication.
If you have a strong angle or an unusual story, don’t be afraid to mention it in your pitch. This will help to make your story stand out from the hundreds of other pitches that the editor will receive on a daily basis.
Write a catchy headline
Your headline is your story’s first impression—and you only have a few seconds to make a good one. A great headline will stop someone scrolling through their Facebook feed, and make them want to read your story.
Here are some tips for writing headlines that work:
– Keep it short and sweet: A headline should be no more than eight words long. Get to the point!
– Use strong keywords: Strong keywords will help your story show up in search engines. Try to use keywords that are specific to your topic, and that people might use when they’re searching for a story like yours.
– Make it catchy: Be creative! Write a headline that’s interesting, and makes people want to read more.
– Use proper grammar: Remember, your headline is a reflection of your story—if it has poor grammar, people will assume your story does too.
Edit and revise: Once you’ve written your headline, put it away for a few minutes, then come back and edit it. Sometimes, all it takes is a fresh pair of eyes to spot errors or ways to improve
Use strong verbs
Use strong verbs to grab attention and explain what’s happening.
– Led: She led the campaign.
– Spoke: He spoke to the crowd.
– Joined: They joined the company.
How to follow up
You have a story and you want the news to know about it. You want to be the one telling your story, not reading about it second-hand. But how do you get the news to cover your story? You have to reach out to them and give them the details.
Send a thank you note
Every reporter, editor, or producer who reads or hears your story is a potential customer, client, or contact. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. So send a handwritten thank you note as soon after the read or airing as possible.
Even if you don’t hear back right away, don’t give up. Keep trying and be persistent. The newsroom is likely getting hundreds of emails and calls every day, so it may take a while for them to get back to you. But if you keep trying, eventually you will get through to someone who can help.